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SHRM09 - 3 Reasons Why "SHRM Connect" Will Rock... And 3 Reasons It Will Die a Death That Involves Twitching...

Capitalist Note: I'm on the scene at the SHRM 2009 National Conference in New Orleans.  So the news is all-SHRM, all the time.  I might bash the organization many love to hate or hug it out with the organization people rely on for cheap access to Sheryl Crow with Convention Center sound quality.  I'm tricky like that....

So SHRM Connect is out in beta form....  For those of you that have no clue, SHRM Connect is theSHRMLOGOPuzzle social networking play from SHRM, the pure HR play/answer to Facebook,, or every other Ning network you've ever subscribed to.

I took a spin.  It's either going to be huge or die a slow death inside the walls of SHRM.  With that in mind, here are the 3 Reasons why SHRM Connect may be a great success at SHRM:

1. SHRM's a battleship, and nobody brings the scale that SHRM does to the table.  250K in auto-generated accounts will do that for you (every active member of SHRM has an account waiting for them, they just have to claim it)....Again, that's a quarter of a million members to the social network IF they sign in...

2. SHRM's the training wheels for those who haven't experienced social media.  Somebody tweeted the question "what % of HR Pros at SHRM are using social media?" on Monday.  Same person guessed 25%.  Take the personal facebook account out of the mix, and I'm guessing 10% would be a kind answer to this question.  SHRM solves the "social networking sure looks scary" objection that HR pros have regarding social media by providing a controlled social media experience that the more conservative HR pro might actually try. 

3. If they're smart, SHRM can work on a technology backbone that would customize the user experience for the member in question.  You're a comp pro?  Great, because on the side of your personalized page, we're serving up compensation content and also telling who you should connect with that shares your background.  Boom! They could make it a pretty strong community with the right customization, one that would be tough to beat elsewhere from an HR standpoint...

Of course, it's never that easy.  Here are 3 Reasons why SHRM Connect may die an ugly death, the kind that involves involuntary twitching:

1.  SHRM's a battleship, and that can be a good AND a bad thing.  Good that you have 250K in social media accounts.  Bad if you have to water down the experience because you're trying to be "everything to everyone", and wind up pleasing no one.

2.  Zere Vill Be No Korousing in de SHRM Connect (Best Nazi voice I could muster in print).  Censor it too much and folks will try SHRM Connect, determine they don't like ze Vanilla, and go somewhere else for the rocky road.  Cut the graphic pictures and curse-festered, threatening rants out of the mix on the social network called SHRM Connect, leave everything else the users say and do.  It's called authenticity, and SHRM has to leave stuff that will go against its conservative nature in order to keep the eyeballs - and the trust.

3.  I'm Buried Under a 10-Layer website and can't get up.'s a huge site, and unless SHRM commits to giving SHRM Connect a lot of visibility on the home page, no one will know it's there.  Even if they put it on the home page with a big button that says "Free Swag" (known to work with HR types), I'm not sure they can make it cut through the clutter.  Tough issue for SHRM...

See a trend?  The success of the SHRM Connect depends on SHRM being big when it matters, but acting small at every other turn.  Not something the 800-lb gorilla has done well in the past.  Try it in its beta form and check back periodically, and remember ----

Remember - Zere Vill Be No Korousing in de SHRM Connect.  Zat is all.



Roving blogger/reporter suits you. Cracking me up today.

SHRM Connect? Smart org's will realize the foundation has been laid elsewhere and use it. A SHRM/Facebook connection (or poll SHRM'ers to find most used social network) would be much more smart. But hey....nevermind LOL


I love the first paragraph. On the grow old and die about the fact that there are now a lot of recruiting/HR social networking sites (, recruiting blogs, the new site ERE bought, recruiter Earth, etc.) and I've lost patience for remembering what my account is on each (some have different parameters for passwords than my standard ones.) Keeping up with the HR SM sites is much more tiring than hanging out on the big ones with forward-thinking HR types.

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